Best local Indian Restaurant in Essex 2014
One of the finest Indian restaurants in Essex Caraway Indian Brasserie, in Gants Hill, has won the prestigious Best Local Indian Restaurant Award in the Restaurant Guides
The Hart Brothers
The Hart Brothers, who have made Quo Vadis and Fino into such success stories
1 Pont St SW1 Tel: 020 7259 6166
Cost â about Â£50 per person. Sunday lunch Â£17.50 3-courses
Any self-respecting P.G. Wodehouse fan would know that the Drones was Bertie Woosterâs club and it is worth thinking about this before booking. In this new incarnation from restaurateur Marco Pierre White and designer David Collins, the duo have had a bit of fun with a classic menu and the Art Deco style. Thereâs lots of honey-coloured wood contrasting with black, chrome and glass, along with dramatic black and white period photos of celebrities.
Starters are very much of an earlier period, the sort that send food writers scurrying for a copy of Escoffier or Larousse Gastronomique. So there is both a terrine of foie gras (with Sauternes gelÃ©e and green peppercorns) and a parfait of foie gras (with Madeira gelÃ©e and truffle). With said classically presented terrine, which was exactly what it said it would be on the menu, the sommelier usefully suggested a glass of Sauternes. Oysters in Champagne gelÃ©e with watercress are equally classical and so to, one would imagine, are other items like blinis Ã la Moscovite with sevruga caviar, papillote of smoked salmon Claudine, asparagus with hollandaise. Any of these items would have been popular with Bertieâs fearsome aunts, while his old uncles would have enjoyed more butch starters like the salad of pigâs trotters and black pudding with sauce gribiche.
Main courses are equally divided between fish and meat and were it not for the cold weather I would have tried the fillet of red mullet with marrowbone, saffron potatoes and an osso bucco jus. But when I read roast rump of lamb with clams I could hear the sound of a gauntlet dropping and this was too good a challenge to pass up. Sitting in a pool of haricots blancs with parsley jus, the little pelourde clams added a pleasing note of sea-saltiness, giving the whole a flavour of maritime lamb (Romney Marsh or Pauillac). The magret of duck Marco Polo with white peaches and a Sauternes roasting jus was equally successful with good, crisply-blackened skin and a dense, red meat texture.
Sad to say, but desserts were having an off-day. The crÃ¨me vanille was fine and much like Italian panna cotta, but the accompanying figs âpoached in red wine syrupâ tasted of plain old red wine sans syrup and uncooked red wine is not a pleasure to eat with a spoon. Unfortunately, the same fault marred an otherwise enjoyable crÃ¨me caramel âBox Treeâ (the first serious restaurant Marco worked in), studded with sultanas, sitting in a puddle of uncooked alcohol. The wine list is an impressive bit of work, with seven reds, seven whites, three champagnes and four dessert wines by the glass. There are well-chosen wines under Â£20 per bottle as well as lots of very grand wines at considerable prices. Service is smooth, staff are knowledgeable and the customers do play their part in dressing the room. All in all, a perfect place to show out-of-town friends and relations that London is a civilised place in which to live.